Carlson Proposes Paid Parking on Elm Street

New Canaan’s highest elected official last week said the town should pursue a change in parking on Elm Street whereby spaces there are paid instead of free. First Selectman Dionna Carlson told members of the Parking Commission at their regular meeting that, at the same time, the town would “switch with Park Street to free parking,” an apparent reference to the paid Park Street Lot. “Most people understand that we have sort of a backwards system: Our most valuable parking is free and our least valuable is paid,” she said at the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “And we’re seeing lots of people circling on Elm Street, creating more congestion, so it just doesn’t make sense.”

Town officials have looked at the prospect of switching Elm Street to paid and making the spaces at lots further from the very heart of downtown New Canaan free. In examining the idea 10 years ago, parking officials framed their reasons for the change in terms of downtown workers taking up the free spaces all day.

Commission Approves New Parking Configuration for Morse Court

Saying it’ll make parking easier for large vehicles and improve traffic flow, town officials voted last week in favor of re-striping the Morse Court lot. The change will create spaces nine feet wide and at 90 degrees from the travel lane, as opposed to the current configuration where stall widths range from 7.5 to 8.5 feet wide and many are angled, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. The new striping also will create wide enough traffic lanes within the lot to allow for two-way traffic all around, though it will bring a net loss of 10 spaces to Morse Court, officials said at the May 1 Parking Commission meeting. 

Though the town is “not being forced” to change the parking configuration when it re-stripes the lot, Mann said, the spaces as currently configured are not in compliance with the New Canaan Zoning Regulations or Village District Guidelines, Mann said. “The problem is you have spaces that are way undersized and the Commission was receiving complaints,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “The first selectman’s office was receiving complaints.

New Canaan Family Tradition Continues with Appointment of Katie (Franco) O’Neill to Parking Commission 

A family tradition in New Canaan is set to continue with the appointment last week of a local woman to the Parking Commission. The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 at its Feb. 5 meeting to appoint Katie O’Neill, née Franco, to the volunteer body. O’Neill’s father had served on the Parking Commission and her brother, Rick, served for decades prior to stepping down in 2020. 

Selectman Steve Karl said, “On Katie, I feel a full circle because my career in service started with her older brother, Rick, on the Parking Commission.”

“I served with Rick on the Parking Commission for years before going onto the [Town] Council,” he continued at the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “And Katie’s a Franco, so she’s lived here her whole life and has intimate knowledge of parking and the way everything works in town.

Commission Forgives $75 Ticket Issued to Man for Parking in Front of Fire Hydrant

Town officials this month voided a $75 ticket that had been issued to a delivery driver who parked in front of a fire hydrant. The Parking Commission voted 4-0 during its Jan. 3 meeting to void the ticket issued to Claudio Pila of Danbury. During an appeal hearing held at Town Hall and via videoconference, Pila told the appointed body that he was dropping off some boxes at That Personal Touch on Main Street when he was issued the ticket at 10:18 a.m. on Nov. 28 (a Tuesday).